Instinct in Dance

  • Isabel Bernhard / Dance in Education

‘It was actually a book by Tomáš Sedláček on economics which led me to the ‘animal spirit’: a term which describes unreflected instincts and emotions, which lead to cyclical fluctuations. This concept fascinates me; there is still something in our body which cannot be controlled.
I wondered to what extent you can evoke this instinct through dance. How you can manipulate it, and what would be the consequences of doing so? Would it lead to a new authenticity and consciousness of movement? However, ‘consciousness’ is not the correct word to describe this. I am, in fact, trying to limit the dominance of consciousness or of the mind, in order to make room for a physical and purely natural flow of movement.


‘I researched the theory of the difference between man and animal, and what the consequences of developing our analytical mind had on the human body in motion. Nearly all sensory stimuli are processed in our brain before we respond physically. This not only leads to conscious control and focused movement, but is also linked to the feeling of the accumulation of perception in the upper part of the body.


‘On the dance floor, I examined how you can achieve sensitisation for stimuli throughout the entire body. My goal was to create a body which instinctively connects emotions and movement. By using basic instincts such as power, aggression, and empathy, I tried to stimulate the dancers to move from an internal necessity.
During my research I experimented together with six dancers from the Dance in Education programme. The final choreography is the artistic expression of my research results. The entire process felt very special and intense.’